200+ Omaha Business Leaders Sign Statement 'United Against Racism'

June 15, 2020, 12:19 p.m. ·

The statement signed by more than 200 CEOs in the Omaha area (credit: omahachamber.org)

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More than 200 CEOs in the Omaha area have signed a commitment to address racial inequities in the business community. And the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has created a coalition focused on developing a more diverse workforce.

The statement says these business leaders are “committed to investing in substantive change,” followed by six promises.

Those include using influence and position to amplify unheard voices, and improving employment, training and advancement opportunities for people of color.

Tim Burke is CEO of the Omaha Public Power District, and Board Chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. He says he’s been asking himself: if not us, who?

"So if the business community doesn't think about this as a priority for this region, and this community, then who? Who can do that?" Burke said. "And I think we have the resources behind us in the business community to help support that incredibly well."

Burke says CEOs for CODE — which stands for Commit to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity — was in progress before the widespread protests of the past few weeks.

And he says although the recent statement is still somewhat vague, they’ll make more concrete goals as the project is refined.

"I think the other piece that's going to be important is this continual conversation with CEOs across our community about diversity, equity, and inclusion," Burke said. "And just to just to maintain a pattern of conversation that we need to have and actions will come out of that, would be my guess, as well."

A group of 25 business leaders and content experts is serving as an advisory council. It includes working groups on workplace assessment, strategic planning, community connectedness and more.